Sarah Swallow’s Sick Flatbar 27.5 Sequoia

The general rule of thumb is if you build it, people will cram the biggest tire possible into it. I wish we lived in a world where tire clearances were maxed out with drivetrain efficiency in mind, but it’s not always the case. However, when it is the case, you end up with a very capable bike. So yeah, if you build it… with ‘it’ being the Specialized Sequoia. While people have certainly put mountain bike tires on this bike before, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone fit as big of a tire as Sarah Swallow did with the Ground Control 2.1″. This bike is her recon bike for her 125 mile race next month, the Ruta de Jefe, in Elgin, Arizona. While there is no singletrack per se on the course, the roads can get rowdy, where a wide bar and fat tire will soften the blow from the washboard and ruts.

It’s built with a Rogue Panda framebag, SRAM Force 1, PAUL Klampers, a Revelate Feed Bag, one of those WTF Bikexplorer bidons, and a set of those S-Works Overendz Bar Ends.

Some might call it a hybrid, or just a rigid MTB, so that nomenclature is welcome, but bottom line is, I doubt anyone foresaw a build like this arising from the Sequoia platform!

Also, as a personal note, happy birthday Sarah!

Follow Sarah on Instagram.

53 responses to “Sarah Swallow’s Sick Flatbar 27.5 Sequoia”

  1. Dr J says:

    I think for an article that focuses on tire choice for this unique bike it would be great to point out what exactly those tires are. I’m guessing they may be 27.5 x 2.3″ but I wouldn’t know that from text nor pictures.

  2. Sattelfest says:

    why does she choose this bike? Why not a “regular” mtb?
    The look of it is intriguing though

    • John Watson says:

      Because a ‘road’ geometry is going to ride on dirt roads better than a mtb geometry – ATMO. MTBs usually have longer forks, different geos and have MTB q-factors. The stack height is usually taller on a MTB, so you’re more upright. A road bike with bigger tires will be more zippy and more nimble. Also, she already had this bike and wanted to build it up differently. Personally, not speaking for Sarah, but I like the way a road bike rides with bigger tires, moreso than a MTB with similar tire sizes.

      • Sattelfest says:

        I see. Thank you for “clearing” this point up! I thought as much that this is just her bike and she tries to make the most of it. Reminds me of the white sklar (drop bar) you featured some time ago…just great

  3. Sam Scavo says:

    This looks like a fun bike for sure. Builds like this one are what we need more of in life.

  4. Peter10000 says:

    What does with “drivetrain efficiency” mean? The q-factor?

  5. Scott Wolfe says:

    how tall is sarah and what is size is the frame?

  6. AsSeenOnOkra says:

    That fade looks way better dirty…

  7. Paxton says:

    This is great.

  8. Kyle Kelley says:

    Happy Birthday Sarah!

  9. Scott Sattler says:

    Can anyone ID the slick little garmin mount she has on the bar ?

  10. mikeetheviking says:


  11. Eltigre says:

    I’m guessing she crimped the chainstays? I’ve got the same bike in a 61cm and I had like 3 mm of clearance on the chainstays with the 47mm sawtooths.

  12. Luis says:

    any info on the handlebar? looks comfy

  13. Your Pal, Al says:

    sick-uoia for sure. this bike really does it for me.

  14. marty larson says:

    Seeing more of these flat bar conversions just makes me think of mid-90’s mountain bikes. About the same comfort, same capability etc. Even similar looks. Pretty rad in my book.

  15. Joe Pyle says:

    I’d love to know what the fork is. I’m building a rig for the AZT and need durable.

  16. Anthony Ip says:

    this right here might be one of my favorite bikes ever featured here.

  17. Zian says:

    road bike + big tires + flat bars always looks so fun

  18. Andy Kaucher says:

    Two words for those wishing they had a bike like this: Raleigh Redux.

    Speaking as a broke grad student, I wish I could afford half the bikes on this page. No, I don’t work for Raleigh. I just want people to know there’re really cool bikes out there that cost what some people spend on rims alone.

    I have mine set up similar to Sarah’s! Fast mtb tires and inner-bar ends for the win! Single speed for the pain!

  19. How much space is there around this tire? I’ve been thinking about basically this build for about a year.

  20. Nick says:

    As a sequoia owner myself this seems a roundabout way of making a heavy epic hardtail, but hey, sweet build anyway!

    I’ve been toying with a 27.5 wheelset, unfortunate there are no clearance photos but thanks for the report.